SONNY JOHNSON'S SCRAP BOOK 1937-'38, SUBIACO TROJANS, "RAH RAH RAH." [caption title] PHOTOS AND NEWS CLIPPINGS DOCUMENTING THE 1937-38 FOOTBALL SEASON FOR THE SUBIACO ACADEMY TROJANS, OF SUBIACO, ARKANSAS.
School notebook (front cover lacking), 8vo. utilizing 22pp. of the lined paper, to record through newspaper stories and candid and school photos, the winning season for the Subiaco Academy football team. Laid down in the notebook are numerous news articles, as well as 14 photos of the team, most 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. or 3 1/2 x 5 1/4 in., and most with caption titles, in casual dress and uniform, or at practice, plus a couple of slightly larger posed photos of the team and coaches. Johnson also played on the basketball and baseball teams for the school and a photo of each team is present in the notebook. There are 9 additional photos, unmounted, 4 small ones (2 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.), showing football practice, the other five showing groups of students posing as members of the football team, with musical instruments as members of the band, and as members of the student body with the faculty in front of one of the school buildings. Two of these photos are stamped on the back by the Abbey Photo Shop in Subiaco. Accompanied by two letters of polite rejection for football scholarships, one from Tulane in February, and one from Loyola of the South in April 1938. The Tulane letter notes his size and says most of their quarterbacks are much larger than he is. Also present is a letter, in pencil, undated, to "Dear Mother," and signed "Son," presumably written by Johnson to his mother the summer after he graduated from the academy. He was working in nearby Hazen, first in a drug store, then in the hay fields earning $1.50 a day.
Sonny Johnson, a young man from Little Rock, attended Subiaco Academy, a private Catholic high school and played on the football team, alternating between full and half back positions, as well as occasionally quarterbacking. As a member of Coach Reynold Maus' team, he earned a letter in the 1936-37 season. The news articles are full of his daring feats on the field: "Maus' most reliable back is "Sonny" Johnson, a Little Rock boy, who plays fullback. Johnson is a triple-threat man, and as signal-caller, has guided the Trojans to six victories against one defeat. Although he weighs only 139, Johnson has played every quarter but one this fall." Item #63150
Sonny Johnson, born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1920, was the son of Parham and Evelyn Johnson. His parents divorced when he was young. Sonny attended Little Rock High School, Columbia Military Academy, and Subiaco Academy, graduating in May 1938. Unsuccessful at his attempts for college scholarships, he followed his father into the military and enlisted in the Navy in April 1939. He trained as an Aviation Radio Operator and was assigned to the USS Enterprise, and escort duty on the USS Hornet. On May 13, 1942, his bomber crew took off on a mission from which it did not return. He was reported missing, presumed dead, at the age of 22.
There are two ink notes, written later, at the bottom of the college rejection letters. Both lament his lost opportunities for higher education: "It kept him from entering the U.S. Service as an Ensign.... Wish I had really known how very much he wanted to go to college."